Patient volume reaches critical level at Ross Memorial Hospital

Due to a high volume of patients, Ross Memorial Hospital declared a code orange on Tuesday.

Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) has declared an internal “Code Orange” due to overcapacity.

The hospital says it has been at critical levels due to the higher-than-expected volume of patients since the beginning of June.

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The designation is invoked when hospital operations are severely compromised by patient volume overcapacity.

“So what the hospital did in-response is we pulled patients out of the emergency department up onto the floors in the hospital in traditional places we don’t use including the hospitals.. The next morning we were back in the same place,” said Bert Lauwers, hospital president & CEO.

All clinics will continue, surgeries will be performed Wednesday and the Emergency Department remains open. There is no restriction to hospital access.

The hospital normally operates 158 beds. RMH has been providing care to as many as 180 admitted patients.

In a release, the hospital said challenges have included prolonged stays in the Emergency Department for admitted patients, and providing additional staff to care for patients.

The hospital says the over-capacity is related to numbers of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients. These are patients who no longer need care in an acute care hospital, and are waiting placement in more appropriate facilities, such as long-term care.

Traditionally, about 45 of the hospital’s patients are ALC, but in the past two months, the number has grown to 60.

“Traditionally operate at about 28 percent of our beds occupied with ALC, in June it rose to 35 percent and in July it was 40 percent. It really constrained the number of beds we have,” added Lauwers.

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On Tuesday morning, there were 179 patients admitted into the hospital, including 60 ALC patients. In addition, there were 20 patients in the Emergency Department awaiting an inpatient bed. This creates the total patient demand for care at 199 patients.

RMH says it has been in constant communication with the Central East Local Health Integration Network since early June. Home and Community Care is also helping with patient discharges.

UPDATE:

Officials say the Code Orange was cleard around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

“During the Code Orange the Hospital was able to maintain normal operations,” the hospital stated Thursday afternoon.

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